Tuesday, November 30, 2010

singing to 'oh christmas tree' as we 'deck the halls.'

we ain't got snow, 
but we got us some christmas spirit.

i think i've been saying it over and over and over again, but it is so good to be home with my family for the holidays. and i'm not talking about flying in from Chicago a couple days before the 25th. i'm talking about being a part of ALL OF IT! this is such a gift. it's something i have longed for every single year. my heart would ache (i'm not exaggerating!) when i would remember our family traditions and i was disappointed that i couldn't be a part of the whole experience.

but this is a different year.

Sweet Shot Day

come on. don't tell me i'm the only one that likes to lay underneath the tree and look up at the lights? i used to do this with kristine when we were little. though it's a bit awkward to slide underneath it now, it's still fun and reminds me of childhood days.

i wish i could show you all the ornaments on our tree. pretty much every single one has a story. we've collected one a year since we were little kids, so it makes tree-decorating super fun. some seem so random when you look at them, but then once you hear the story, you're like oooooh, i see. there is the ornament from japan when we lived there - or the one i brought back from the Philippines - and even ashley's first ornament as a baby. when you look at our tree, it's almost like a peek back to our family's history. i love it so much.

do you have any cool family traditions? 
or is there one you want to start with your own family one day?

i'm especially fond of this tradition and hope to be able to carry it on with my own little family one day. maybe ryan and i can even start our collection next year when we share our first christmas as husband and wife! 

one quick thing:
oh, and don't forget to enter sweet shawni's giveaway if you haven't yet! 

[happy tuesday, friend!]

Monday, November 29, 2010

sponsor love & GIVEAWAY: shawni marie from a bit of lace!!

fashion inspiration. recipes galore. lifestyle posts. crafting goodness. these are just a few of the treats you'll find over at this chica's blog. she not only puts together inspiring outfits (you gotta love her colorful nails - one of her trademarks!), but beautiful handmade headbands and bookmarks showcased in posts and in her delightful etsy shop, a bit of lace.

i think you'll come to love this girl as much as i do! she's spunky and fun and creative. and like i already mentioned, she has some inspiring outfit posts you just might want to gather from. she's not afraid of color (my kind of girl!) and loves to dive into new adventures - whether it be with her new etsy shop or with family or with her man! so without further adieu...

meet shawni marie.

meet her blog

and these are some of my faves from her shop.

Tell us about YOU, the artist and brains behind
 A Spoonful of Love and A Bit of Lace.

hmm a little bit about me. well, I'm 27 and I live in downtown Sacramento. I can't wait to be 30. I have amazing friends and family and I like to eat a lot. I enjoy hot showers, a good book, and bacon any time of the day :)

Is there a story behind your shop name? 

the story behind my shop name is pretty simple. I had been going over tons of ideas and names with my best friend liz, but nothing fit. or it was already taken. I liked the way a bit of lace fell of my lips. I use lace when making my bookmarks so it fit perfectly.

Okay, on to some fun questions. 
If could create your own fashion line, 
what would it consist of? 
What sorts of colors, styles and textures? Dream away!

my own fashion line? well, that would be a dream come true. I like lots of prints. floral mostly and I really enjoy mix and matching. I also believe in the power of basics. i imagine my line as very girly, but at the same time very grown up. I envision textures and bold prints, but in a simple format. lots of skirts and dresses.

I noticed you love to cook dinner 
with your man! 
What is your favorite dish to cook with him?

I do love cooking!! and Andy is really great in the sense that he let's me do whatever I want. I would say making anything that we can work on together. I really want to make pasta with him. 

It's almost the most wonderful time of the year. 
What are 3 things on your wish list? 

three things on my wish list? 
hmm...a trip to new york, a new lens for my camera, and my own apartment. 
wow, that's a really bold list. haha. 

remember some of my favorites from her shop? 
this week, shawni has offered one lucky Much Love, illy reader a chance to win the following:

the choice of ANY headband and ANY bookmark!!!

how sweet a deal is that?! 
not only would you be able to snag yourself a gift, 
maybe give the other one away for a christmas present!

[How to Enter:]
 1. Be a public follower of Much Love, illy (or let me know if you already are)
2. Visit shawni's shop and comment here with the name of your favorite item
3. Include your email address so I know how to reach you if you win 

[Extra entries in separate comments]

-Be a public follower of A Spoonful of Love
-Follow @sososhawni on twitter
-Tweet about the giveaway 
(be sure to include @muchloveilly and @sososhawni so we can track your tweet) 
-Blog about the giveaway (include blog-link in your comment)

The giveaway will close at midnight, Sunday December 5th.  
Winner will be announced next Monday, December 6th.

[and one more thing...]

shawni has offered a Cyber Monday Discount of 50% off of your order from her shop!
if you can't wait for the giveaway results and need to get cracking on your christmas shopping for others (or for yourself - come on, we all do it!), you might want to take advantage of this special right away! 
be sure to enter this coupon code at checkout: lovelovelove123

thanks again, shawni! it's been so lovely to have you!
much love, ilene (aka illy)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

scrunchies and troll-dolls are so third-grade.

...and i thought i left white tights back in the 3rd grade.

i seriously thought that was an accessory i'd never, ever try again. i thought wrong 'cause apparently these white tights (actually they are more cream than white) were calling me by name name this weekend while the fam and i went black friday shopping. you can't tell by the pics by they have a sweet almost lace-like pattern to them, plus they are a little thicker - my favorite kind of tights. 

with the temperatures cooling off tremendously, i wore the white (ahem, cream) tights to church on sunday along with one of my fave red pair of heels. i think what i love about fall and winter in the south is that i can actually walk around in heels or in cute boots without worrying about breaking my back on the sidewalk or ruining my shoes. i wore heels at my old job in chicago but always trudged in the snow in my snow boots, then changed once i got to work. (oh you bet my closet at worked was lined with heels!) and i hardly wore skirts and even tights like i wear here 'cause it was always so stinkin' cold! i stuck with dress pants that i could stick in my boots. chicago is one fashionable city - but once winter hit, all we cared about was staying warm!

fitted button shirt: belk
black pencil skirt: target
gray belt: forever21
white lace tights: forever21
red heels: gift from a friend

in other news...
in case you did not know...the holidays are officially here! thanksgiving dinner has been consumed (leftovers and all!). black friday sales were attacked. christmas shopping has kicked off with a bang. summer clothes have been packed away (or layered like no other). tights and boots are here to stay. christmas decorations are up. hot chocolate is becoming a daily ritual. and yes, i am finally listening to christmas music (i did mention once or twice before that i live by the strict rule of listening to it after my thanksgiving meal - as hard as it was  [esp with a certain friend taunting me with her glee-filled tweets] , it's so worth it and much more meaningful to me when i wait!). and i might have even baked a second pumpkin pie after thanksgiving since my family and i were craving more of it.

as i mentioned last saturday, my family were on the hunt for black friday deals. later that day (even after our crazy morning), we made a trip out to savannah, also part of our black friday tradition. even if we're not shopping, we like to head down there to kick off the holiday season. we specifically checked out Oglethorpe Mall where they have this cool christmas decor that my parents took us to when we were little, so it's always fun to revisit it when we can. it's a different setting than the one i used to see when i was little. it used to be this sweet teddy bear choir...now it's a train ride for the kiddies. its still beautiful - but sorry kids, i think the bear choir was sweeter. 

oh and i love that pic of mom and dad. mom was actually on the phone with our other sister (who was spending the holidays with her hubby and his family), so when we took the picture, daddy decided to pull out his phone to be "cool" too. oh, daddy. he never stops making us laugh. 

how was your weekend, friend?
did you do anything fun 
to kick off the holiday season?

oh and we got something super fun happening here today!
click on the banner for the link to a sweet giveaway and interview 
by shawni of a spoonful of love.
be sure to show this amazing girl some love! 

[happy monday, friend.]

p.s. one more day for the 20% discount over at my shop
use discount code at checkout: BFLOVE

Saturday, November 27, 2010

hi, i'm ilene. and i'm a black friday shopper.

sometimes you have to do something spontaneous and crazy.

[we love our new hats we found during our black friday shopping!
this picture was taken at the end of the day. notice how tired my eyes look. so worth it, though.]

which is what the little sister and i did yesterday morning...say around, 4am. we got up and got ready to attack the crazy sales at everywhere and anywhere. believe it or not, we didn't have a hard time getting up at all. we were both excited and ready - though we were excited for two different reasons.

i'm just one of those crazy shoppers that likes to go out on black friday (i get it from my mom) because i like to find the cheaper deals and start my christmas shopping earlier than later. i'm also a sucker for DVDs and wal-mart and target have the best deals for those. as for ashley, she was excited about her beloved beiber's acoustic album, released only at wal-mart on black friday. (smart marketing, i personally think). 

so with my coffee, we ran out the door to start a long crazy day of hunting for the best deals. our parents headed out in a seperate car, stalking a different batch of stores - but then met up later at home for lunch (thanksgiving leftovers, of course!) and cat naps. once we all recharged, we headed out the door for a trip to savannah's sea of malls and shops. 

there have been some years we found amazing deals, other times none at all. but as it being one of holiday traditions to just check out what's out there and being with all the other crazy shoppers, it was fun even if we weren't to find anything at all.

call us weird, but it's a family thing.

[happy weekend, friend!]

not quite satisfied with your black friday purchases?!

visit my shop today 
before all your favorite poppy garlands disappear!

[happy shopping, friend.]

Friday, November 26, 2010

i don't think i can eat ever again...except for maybe leftover pumpkin pie.

oh, i love traditions.

especially when it comes to family-related ones. i loved getting up on thanksgiving morning and grabbing a cup of coffee to drink while watching the macy's day parade with the family. i loved that we were all in PJs till about noon and then got dressed to prep and cook for our thanksgiving meal. i loved laughing randomly at inside jokes and calling our sister in iowa to tell her that we missed her and that we couldn't wait to see her in december. i just love being with my family - did you pick up on that yet?! 

i think i'm especially thankful this year about being home is because this is my first thanksgiving home with my family for a long time - 8 years to be exact. having lived in chicago, i couldn't afford to buy a plane ticket for thanksgiving and christmas, so i often spent thanksgiving in chicago or somewhere up north. it was a fun experience - but its definitely a different kind of experience. thanksgiving for me is just not the same without my family.

and i feel very blessed to have my family. we are not perfect. no family is, but my family is perfect to me - there is a lot of love here and i'm so thankful for that. 

oh, and one more thing. we were stuffed silly - like the rest of the america - after our delish thanksgiving meal! after lounging around for a couple of hours while watching football and taking cat naps in the living room, we plugged in my itouch to the living room speakers and blasted some dance music...and yup, danced away some of those calories. probably not a lot since we ate so much but it was fun and we felt a little better after sitting on our butts all day. 

[not the most attractive picture of me but i think you get the idea of how much fun we were having!]

no, dad did not join in dancing to black eyed peas and christmas music but he was a good sport by joining in on our FLIP video (which unfortunately, according to the family-code, is NOT to be blogged, face-booked or tweeted like all other crazy, dance family videos we have. they will go to the grave with us.) 

what would have made the day complete was to have ryan, kristine and her ryan (did most of you know that my sister is married to a ryan, too?) here with us. but it's alright - ryan and i have next year to look forward to (we'll be married by then - eeeek! can't wait!) and then my sis and her hubby will be here in less than a month. so looking forward to it!

anyone else as excited about me for the holiday season?
and did everyone have a good thanksgiving?
what are some of your family traditions, thanksgiving or not thanksgiving?

much love.

[happy friday, friend.]

don't forget that my shop 
is having a black friday sale! 
FRIDAY: Buy 2, get 1 FREE 
(of equal/lesser value; include in msg to seller which item you'd like)
SATURDAY-MONDAY: 20% Off of your order
(use coupon code at checkout: BFLOVE)
and one more thing...
don't forget about the Much Love, Illy Black Friday Shopping Guide put together early this week for some amazing discounts and sales from my beautiful sponsors! 
you won't want to miss it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

pumpkin pie, turkey, stuffing...and oh yes, pumpkin pie!!

it's so easy to get wrapped up with the craziness of life - or maybe the mundane of it - and forget about the many blessing we get every single day. i know i get trapped in that bubble of ungratefulness. it's easy to want and to complain, thinking that life is greener on the other side when really we have so much more to be grateful for. if only, we had that perspective on a daily basis.

and actually my little sister, ashley, (oh wise one) pointed how interesting it is that we celebrate thanksgiving and the next day, we are all immediately buying and craving and lusting over more things - whether it be during black friday sales or writing mile-long wish lists. (15 years old are wiser than you realize, people!). such a contrast. i think it's definitely something to remember this season! 

so what are you most grateful for, friend?

i've said this every year but i mean it more than ever before (and i hope this turns to be a continued trend as i get older), i am so grateful for my family. i'm grateful to be home with them for this season. i'm grateful for the constant support and love we have for one another. i'm grateful to call them some of my best friends...that we can laugh our heads off at the dumbest things that no one else in the world understands. i'm grateful for "the ryans" who are a part of my family (peyton and dad did need more men in the house). 

i'm especially grateful that i'm spending thanksgiving with my family this year. having lived in chicago for 8 years, it was hard (or too expensive) to get a ticket so close to Christmas break, so i normally spent thanksgiving with friends. mom, ashley and i each have a part of the meal to contribute - and it's 50/50 american and filipino dishes...so we plan to eat good! (kristine, we are not not thinking of you. we are missing you every second that you are not here. but girl, you'll be here before you know it! december is just around the corner, sis!)

other things i'm thankful for: 
my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who has given me true life. without Him, i am nothing. because of Him, i am even able to be grateful. for my fiance and best friend, ryan. i love you so much. also thankful for my best friends you know who you are. thanks for the texts, the emails and the phone calls. praise God for technology. you know i miss you. and you can't forget the obvious things...such as pumpkin pie, stuffing, turkey and all that yummy goodness that thanksgiving brings.

[happy thanksgiving, friend!]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

much love, illy sponsors BLACK FRIDAY 2010 shopping guide!!!

there might be a few of you that plan to enjoy black friday from the comfort of your own home (your couch, your bed, or at the table still eating turkey - sick, but whatever floats your boat!), so...to help some of you out, i put together a guide for your black friday shopping needs. these here are my beautiful, amazing sponsors with some pretty darn good incredible discounts and sales going on that you won't want to miss! though im a crazy 4-amer when it comes to black friday,  i seriously plan to take advantage of a few of them myself!

click on each sponsor's banner for the link to each shop and to a world of discounts.

 shop discount: 20% off of ALL paintings 
and gift certificates (excluding custom paintings)
code at checkout: ALOHA20
shop discount:  
15% off of entire order
discount code: BlackFriday15
Free shipping 
for first 5 people to place an order!

shop discount: BLACK FRIDAY sale all weekend!

 shop discount: 
all items are 15% off!

shop discounts:
buy 2, get 1 FREE!
(include choice of free item 
of equal or lesser value in "message to seller")
20% off of your entire order
discount code: BFLOVE
(prior to shipping costs)

discount: 10% off of entire order!
(difference refunded via paypal)

 shop discounts:
30% off of the entire store
FREE christmas gift wrapping
FREE shipping
buy 3, get 4th item FREE
coupon code for 30% off: 
 shop discount: 15% off of entire order
code at checkout: MUCHLOVE

BLACK FRIDAY sale  in shop from Friday, November 26 through Monday, November 29

[happy shopping, friend!]